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Discuss the role of crooks in the novel 'Of Mice And Men'.

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Introduction

Discuss The Role Of Crooks In the Novel Crooks is the crippled, in the novel 'Of Mice And Men'. However, unlike the other characters in the story, he is black. He lives on the ranch but is forced to sleep in the stables, instead of the bunkhouse like everyone else. He is more permanent than the other ranch workers and is the fourth generation of the only Negro family in that part of California. The period of this novel is in the 1930's and I think it is a clear representation of that era. The lives of African Americans during that time was very different to how it is today. White people were openly racist towards blacks and it was accepted by society as the norm. Although Crooks was treated like an unworthy slave who had no place in society he was probably treated no different or perhaps even better than every other black person at the time. ...read more.

Middle

"The white kids come to play at our place, an' sometimes I went to play with them and some of them were pretty nice. My ol' man didn't like that. I never knew till long later why he didn't like that. But I know now". Crooks' didn't experience racism directly in his childhood, making his current situation even worse. Crooks is fascinated by the strength and closeness of George and Lennie's friendship. "Well, s'pose, jus' s'pose he don't come back. What'll you do then?" Crooks asks these questions because he does not have any friends, and wouldn't know how losing them unexpectedly would feel. He was curious and envious, about the friendship of Lennie and George, noticing that Lennie is retarded, he takes advantage of this situation to "torture" him mentally, to make him feel better and ease the pain of having others reject him." Crooks' face lighted with pleasure at his torture" he also does this to ease his jealousy towards the friendship Lennie has, but that he, Crooks, will probably never have. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are different levels of racial prejudice exhibited throughout the book. Most of the ranch hands don't like or socialise with Crooks but would not go out of their way to insult him. They call him 'stable-buck' or even Crooks to his face but refer to him as 'Nigger' behind his back. Curley's wife on the other hand is rude without excuse. " 'Listen, Nigger', she said. 'You know what I can do to you if you open you trap'" She abuses her position and has no respect for him at all, she doesn't even refer to him by his name, looking down on him with utter contempt and disdain. It is attitudes like hers that have turned him into the bitter man he has become "Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego-nothing to arouse either like or dislike". Afterwards Crooks tells Candy that he is backing out from joining them and retreats back into his shell. I think Steinbeck added him to the book just to show that prejudice could shatter anybody's hope of the American dream. ...read more.

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